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This is the weekly Careers newsletter.

Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.

In 2018 Josh Greenblatt tweeted, “Don’t wanna be difficult but if the whole foods at Yonge and Sheppard doesn’t restock ponzu sauce at the stir fry counter I will set this place ablaze.”

Whole Foods promptly replied, thanking him for bringing it to their attention and apologizing for his experience.

Mr. Greenblatt, a freelance journalist, had no idea when he sent the tweet that it would affect a job opportunity more than three years later.

In 2022, Mr. Greenblatt tweeted a screenshot of the email he received, where the company said they couldn’t move forward with his candidacy because of “concerns about the way you present yourself online.”

“I don’t tweet assuming employers are going to see it,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “And if I do, I’m comfortable enough that they would see it and have a little bit of digital literacy, or an understanding of internet culture, to get that I’m not an arsonist.”

The company that rejected Mr. Greenblatt is far from alone in reviewing candidates on social media and using the posts to help make hiring decisions

A new survey of U.S. hiring managers and employees by comparison platform shows 68 per cent of hiring managers research a candidate on social media before offering them a job, 30 per cent have not hired someone solely because of their social media presence and 66 per cent say a severely inappropriate social media presence is more concerning than a misdemeanour offence.

This raises the question, how do we define severely inappropriate?

Mr. Greenblatt said he thinks his experience speaks to a “large icky problem.”

“It’s this overwhelming professionalization of culture,” he said. “Work now is life. And if work is life, I refuse to have some HR person at a multi-billion dollar conglomerate retailer tell me what to tweet and also penalize me and others.”

The same survey shows 29 per cent of employees are most concerned about their social media presence during the hiring process, while only 6 per cent are most concerned about background checks.

In addition, data from Robert Half shows 56 per cent of hiring managers said that maintaining a respectable online presence can tip the scales in an applicant’s favour.

David Bolton, regional director at staffing services specialist Robert Half said it’s important that companies have a clear policy and avoid discrimination when looking at social media.

He said candidates should have a friend try to “dig up some dirt” about them online to ensure their presence is appropriate while job searching.

He said there is always ambiguity.

“A remark or a comment that some people find offensive, some people don’t. But anything that you’ve put on social media now can be without context,” he said.

As for Mr. Greenblatt, he advises job seekers to set their social media to private.

“The caveat to this advice is that it’s not necessarily what I agree with,” he says.

What I’m reading around the web

  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says that housing prices are going to bottom out before boomeranging back to record highs in 2025. For housing to become affordable again, they estimate that 500,000 houses will need to begin being constructed each year, beginning this year.
  • Entrepreneur and author of the book The Anxious Achiever, Morra Aarons-Mele, breaks down how you can transform your anxiety into a leadership superpower. She recommends three ways you can shift your mindset to regulate your anxious responses.
  • Wind farms are a key part in renewable energy, but aren’t always great for the birds that call the area home. Here, one farm is using bird-tracking AI to ensure that wildlife in the area remain safe and that biodiversity and sustainability remain a top priority.
  • You’ve probably heard about pickleball – it’s the fastest growing sport in America for the third year running. In this story, a pickleball startup owner shares what she learned from selling pickleball paddles, which have a seasonal surge in demand.

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